It is no surprise that Manchester City is resigned to the departure of German winger Leroy Sané for Bayern Munich. That has been the trend in past months, and Sané reportedly rejected a contract extension yet again this past December, and that is the broad picture painted in The Athletic by Manchester City correspondent Sam Lee.
What is surprising, however, are the bizarre circumstances behind Pep Guardiola’s fateful decision to start Sané in City’s Community Shield showdown with Liverpool FC.
Lee reports that “everything was in place” for Sané to transfer to Munich in August before the ill-fated match. It had been planned that Riyad Mahrez would start on the wing (as he had done too frequently over the season for Sané’s liking). But Mahrez was then dropped from the squad because of a nasal spray he had taken on international duty with Algeria:
...the Algerian medical staff had given him a nasal spray to battle a cold while on duty at the Africa Cup of Nations a few weeks earlier.
City’s medical staff were not able to identify what was in the spray and — after notifying the FA — the decision was made to keep him out of the squad as a precaution until they could be sure Mahrez would not breach doping rules.
We all know how the story ended. Sané started instead, injured his ACL, and the transfer fell apart days before its likely completion.
For the present, Sané thus will remain in Manchester City. Bayern Munich’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic declared that the club would not sign Sané during the winter transfer window, as the Bavarians focus on players who can make an immediate impact.
Presuming that his recovery continues to proceed smoothly, Sané will have a chance to return to match fitness and possibly help City get back on track in a disappointing season. Come summertime, he will probably make his move — barring an allergic reaction.